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Mr. Beer

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by danelhombre, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. danelhombre

    danelhombre Disciple (50) Texas Sep 7, 2012

    The Mr. Beer kit seems almost too simple to be true, but they have pretty good reviews on Amazon. Anyone have experience with them?

    I realize that you only get 2 gallons versus the usual 5-6, but beyond the obvious, are they worth it for a first time homebrewer? It seems like it would be a lot easier to clean/sanitize.

    Can you make a decent quality homebrew with one of these?
     
    Karl_M likes this.
  2. Ruslanchik

    Ruslanchik Aficionado (195) Texas Feb 12, 2008

    I had one of these a long time ago. The beer I made was not good. This has nothing to do with the Mr. Beer unit itself and everything to do with the crappy hopped extract and ancient dry yeast that came with the kit. Furthermore, the plastic keg that comes with it does not serve a useful function if you decide to get more serious about the hobby.

    Homebrewing can be an expensive hobby. Spending $40+ on something that you may not ever reuse is not a wise investment. If you are interested in getting into brewing I would recommend trying to find someone who brews and observing their process. Your local homebrew supply store may also offer an introductory class where you can get an idea of what the hobby is about before investing money and time in it.

    Also, take a look at craigslist. There are always intro homebrewing kits on there for cheap. I got a bunch of my equipment that way and saved quite a bit of money doing it.

    Good luck.
     
    volta, jeffjeff1 and OddNotion like this.
  3. I dont know about Mr. Beer, but if there is a Homebrew store near you see if they do classes. That way you can see and experience the prosses before you decide if it is something you want to do. The places around here cost about $20-40 for a class. May be a better way to spend your money. Good luck.
     
  4. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    The bottles and the fermentor are adequate containers, but nothing special. However, Mr Beer ingredients are sub-standard. Garbage in - garbage out.
     
  5. Not sure how those kits would work as I have never made extract beer, but I have made a bunch of one and two gallon batches of beer. Two gallons gets you around 18 bottles of beer, just for reference.
     
  6. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (395) Virginia Nov 10, 2010

    A lot of disdain for MrB is well deserved...mainly for the over-priced...often less-than-fresh malt extract b/c it sits on the Bed-Bath-N'Beyond shelf for so long...and the paulty 2 gram yeast charge; however...1) his little brown keg is a most excellent fermentor for brewer's who plainly don't want 5Gs of one recipe and / or don't guzzle all that much beer and 2) the kits have had a remarkable make-over recently and while still over-priced...the quality has been improved.

    [​IMG]

    The MrB fermentor is large enough to brew a 2.45G batch (9-L...26 12-oz bottles)...extract or AG; easy to clean; an air lock not required; has a compact size so it's easy to park; easy to keep cool during fermentation in a chest cooler with 2-24 oz. bottles of frozen water; and easy to use when bottling.

    Trending: easy

    If your stove can bring up to 3.75G of wort to a full boil...then MrB's fermentor is at your service!
     
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  7. Beejay

    Beejay Advocate (515) Virginia Dec 29, 2008

    I think the Mr. Beer fermentation vessels are great for test batches. I think brewing with Mr.Beer ingredients is throwing money down the drain. Get some quality extract, and hops, then figure out temperature control and yeast management and you'll make good beer.

    Personally I would invest a little more to start out with, and make beer I will love.
     
  8. PeterG

    PeterG Zealot (85) Arizona Aug 25, 2006

    Full Disclosure: I work for MR.BEER.

    Comments above:
    • "...crappy hopped extract and ancient dry yeast"
    • "...ingredients are sub-standard. Garbage in - garbage out."
    • "...I think brewing with Mr.Beer ingredients is throwing money down the drain. "
    Response:

    Mr.Beer extracts ROCK, if i do not say so myself! We get blasted about them, but most of the time those blasting us never had a MR.BEER kit or brewed with out extracts. Mr.Beer extracts produce a great beer if instructions are followed.

    Our extracts are manufactured by Coopers Brewery in Adelaide Australia. Yes, the same company that makes Coopers extracts you find in LHBS across the world. They are arguably the best extracts you can buy. Each can of extract includes a yeast designed for the extract.

    The extracts we ship direct are never more than 3-6 months old. Normally less. Same with the yeast. Many local home brew shops have generic extracts they get from a 55gallon drum in the back room.

    Don't like our yeast? No problem, we sell all major brands of yeasts on our website.

    For entry price of less than $50 you get a fermenter, bottles, extract, yeast, detailed instructions, free toll free support and a huge community of users. We are a great entry into home brewing.

    Glad I got that off my chest. :)

    Peter
    MR.BEER
     
    SlycerB likes this.
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (775) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    If you haven't read this yet, I recommend it...

    www.howtobrew.com

    While it doesn't talk about Mr. Beer, it does give you a good idea of what you need (and how) to make good beer. It can help you decide for yourself if a Mr. Beer kit seems right for you.
     
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  10. JrGtr

    JrGtr Savant (390) Massachusetts Apr 13, 2006

    The problem with the Mr Beer system isn't the extract perse, it's that by the time it hits the shelves in many of the places that sell it, it's past its prime. Same with the yeast.
     
  11. osubeerkind

    osubeerkind Aficionado (100) Ohio Jan 12, 2009

    Yes I have

    Have never seen or heard of this before?


    If youre just trying out brewing, then yes Mr. Beer is a good buy. If you plan on sticking with it, you might as well start investing in some bigger gear.
     
    kaips1 likes this.
  12. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (800) Texas May 21, 2010

    Mr Beer kits can come out quite tasty. My buddy did several and they all came out good. Maybe not "great" but plenty good enough, all things considered. I tried it and it turned out my water wasn't very good so mine didn't come out so hot. I'd suggest using spring water, it's just easier that way.

    I love my mr beer keg for doing small batches and splitting up batches for experimentation, so it does have some uses. The bottles are fine for if I don't have enough regular glass bottles for a particular batch, but I'd rather use glass. Since I recycle (mostly stone) commercial beer bottles, occasionally I've needed to use a mr beer bottle, and they do work just fine, but aren't ideal.

    All that being said, if you catch the brewing bug with a mr beer kit, you'll soon wish you had gone for a bigger and better setup anyway. Extract brewing with dried or liquid extract and hops pellets (and possibly steeping grains) can make some damn fantastic beers without a lot of setup or technological know-how. Probably just go for it with a 5 gallon setup right off the bat and you'll be better off. :D
     
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  13. kaips1

    kaips1 Savant (285) Kentucky Feb 20, 2011

    Best advice I've ever gotten about brewing "Don't be a pussy, jump right into all grain and you won't look back" - my good friend and great homebrewer Rob
     
    DanimalFL likes this.
  14. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (800) Texas May 21, 2010

    It could be done.

    However, some great extract brews can also be made.

    It's a matter of daring, bravery, and sheer audacity as to how you get started in brewing :D
     
  15. mulder1010

    mulder1010 Initiate (0) Australia Aug 29, 2008

    Used it for a year in the US before moving to Australia.
    Good set up if you have an apartment and limited space. I had two of the kegs.
    My only issue was I thought the house yeast was not very good and the standard range of extracts were not that great. I thought the upper end of their extract range were good.
    The more advanced stuff were quite good. Not mind blowing but very good. Buy better yeasts would be my biggest suggestion and if you want use other extracts and just change the math on your batches you should be fine
     
  16. Spider889

    Spider889 Advocate (675) Ohio Mar 24, 2010

    Look out for deals on starter kits. Northern Brewer does deals form time to time and Midwest Brewing Supplies often has a deal on Groupon where you get a complete starter kit (good equipment, good for full 5 gallon batches) for half price - which is roughly $65 (my estimate without looking it up atm).

    They're worth full price, but if you're in no rush wait for a Midwest deal...
     
  17. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (415) New York Sep 1, 2004

    Coopers makes a mediocre extract. since we are talking opinion. you might think otherwise, but you aren't exactly unbiased. the majority of BA's however, they think Mr. Beer makes mediocre beer from mediocre ingredients. or worse.

    yeah, so you admit your product is six months old before it gets put on a truck, stored in a warehouse and left on a shelf for how long? extract or any ingredient from a national online shop and many LHBS is reliably fresh. serious homebrewers go to them for a reason.

    you mean to say someone with absolutely no experience with yeast, or any brewing experience, is welcome to buy some more product from you in case they "don't like" the yeast they already paid for? good to know.

    I don't know. seems like you are reinforcing many of the negative comments that have dogged Mr Beer forever. there are some good reasons to buy a Mr Beer kit. good, not great. and there are arguably more good reasons not to use Mr Beer. there are other options that dont rely on an impulse buy or an uninformed shopper.
    Cheers.
     
  18. Mr. Beer sucks relatively...but if this is your first foray into homrbrewing IT will pretty much suck anyway. Go for a 5 gal kit (~ 50% more $ ) and save yourself some grief...if you are serious : )
     
  19. jtmartino

    jtmartino Savant (480) California Dec 11, 2010

  20. PeterG

    PeterG Zealot (85) Arizona Aug 25, 2006

    The $100 kit isnt a direct comparison to the MRBEER kit $50 kit. You would need to add bottles and ingredients to make your first batch of beer, so its closer to $150.

    Same issue: $80 doesn't have bottles or ingredients.

    ----

    billandsuz,

    Mr.Beer may not be perfect (not 5 gallons, no AG, etc), but all details aside, it has indoctrinated more people into the hobby that any other product primarily because its inexpensive, and provides the equipment, ingredients, instructions and support to make their first batch of beer. Some people simply are not going to purchase a gift, or invest $150+++ into a hobby until they know the user want to pursue it.

    Peter
     
  21. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (415) New York Sep 1, 2004


    i agree that the mr beer product has done alot to get people into the hobby, and that is a good thing. some of those details you mention are pretty big, but even still. mr beer is on balance an asset to our homebrewing community.

    it's still only mediocre though. ;)
     
  22. PeterG

    PeterG Zealot (85) Arizona Aug 25, 2006

    I'll hold on to that. :)
     
  23. Since we're discussing options, this is what I started with:
    http://brooklynbrewshop.com/beer-making-kits

    You only need bottles, but I generate empties pretty regularly :). One could argue the merits of 1 vs 2.5 vs 5 gal, extract vs all grain (this kit is AG), price, etc., but here are my thoughts. 1) this set is super cheap 2) I still use all of the included equipment still to this day (that 1 gal is nice for experiments in 5 gal batches 3) yes it's AG and tough for a first timer, but the instructions are detailed enough to give you a decent beer

    Incidentally a side benefit of (3) is that it's easy to find youself hooked on this hobby when you're given an opportunity to smell a glorious mash your first time :)
     
  24. IPAescotch

    IPAescotch Aficionado (210) Ohio May 8, 2010

    Lots of people already chimed in but personally, i found Mr. Beer to be a waste of time. The directions are not very brew-logical, the final product not that good, and brewing just isnt hard enough to justify an idiot mix like mr. beer.
     
  25. This is a video from Basic Brewing on Youtube! It shows how you can use the Mr.Beer kit by adding the yeast, steeping grains, and hops that you choose instead of the crappy "booster" sugar substitute product and crappy yeast! It also explains exactly what strain the yeast they use (it happens to be a proprietary strain of generic yeast that works well with all types of beer) and what the "booster" is made of (fake sugars, some add body and some are fermentable)!! I agree that Mr.Beer is a good and affordable way to get into brewing and it can make some tasty beers but if I were to go back and use it again I would make the changes that this video suggests!

     
    jae and Karl_M like this.
  26. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (775) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    STEP 1: Buy Mr. Beer kit
    STEP 2: Replace most of the ingredients
    STEP 3: ?
    STEP 4: Profit
     
    EdH, meatballj626j and GreenKrusty101 like this.
  27. Why should beer brewing be any different than all other semi-useless crap being peddled to convenience-oriented consumers?
     
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  28. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (415) New York Sep 1, 2004

    proprietary = "we're not telling". works well with all types of beer = just good enough for many beers.

    kudos to them for giving the % and specific ingredients in the booster package. most extract packages dont do that.
     
  29. What is heaven's name is "fake sugar"? I am guessing you mean maltodextrin, and not the normal glucose / fructose. It is not "fake", they are naturally occurring products that just aren't table sugar.
     
  30. kannacker

    kannacker Disciple (65) Delaware Jul 30, 2010

    YESSSSSSSSSSSS!


    I HAVE BREWED ALL GRAIN, PARTIAL GRAIN AND YES MR. BEER. I STARTED BREWING AT THE AGE OF 15 WITH MY FATHER AND GRANDFATHER AND HAVE BEEN BREWING ON MY OWN SINCE 1974. I USE CARBOYS, BUCKETS AND MR. BEER CONTAINERS.

    SOMETIMES I WANT TO EXPERIMENT AND BREW A SMALL BATCH SO I USE MY MR. BEER KEGS BEFORE I MAKE A 5 GAL. BATCH. WHEN I PICK UP MR. BEER KITS CHEAP I USE THE MALT EXTRACT SOMETIMES THE YEAST BUT NOT THE BOOSTER. I ALWAYS USE DME (DRIED MALT EXTRACT) IN PLACE OF THE BOOSTER. I SAVE THE BOOSTER TO MIX WITH BROWN SUGAR FOR MY HARD CIDER'S.

    SO GO OUT AND BUY A MR. BEER KIT TO GET YOUR FEET WET AND GET STARTED IN THE HOBBY. YOU CAN MAKE GREAT BEER IN THESE LITTLE KEG'S BY ALTERING THE INGREDIENTS. IF OU LIKE BREWING AFTER AWHILE YOU CAN MOVE UP TO PARTIAL AND ALWAYS USE THE MR BEER BOTTLES. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT YOU ARE ONLY OUT A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY AND THEN SELL IT ON EBAY.

    REMEMBER IT IS EASIER TO MAKE MR BEER AS PER PARTIAL OR FULL GRAIN BEER. I NO LONGER BREW ALL GRAIN BECAUSE OF THE TIME IT TAKES AND USING A BURNER OUTSIDE BECAUSE MOST KITCHEN STOVES WILL NOT BOIL 6 PLUS GALS. PARTIAL TAKES ME A COUPLE HOURS. IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME SPACE OR MONEY GO MR. BEER!
     
  31. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (775) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Welcome to the forum. All Caps is annoying.
     
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  32. Maybe he's just really keen & excited about
    MR. BEER!!!
     
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  33. Karl_M

    Karl_M Aficionado (165) Illinois Oct 13, 2013

    I like the Mr. Beer fermenters so far...

    I'm using them for one gallon batches from Northern Brewer.

    They are easy to clean and fill as well as transfer from one to the other.

    I have four Mr Beer fermenters- three are the newest version (2013) and one is a bit older (push tab spigot) all of them use the lid without airlock.

    Two each have variations on the Bomber Barley Wine in primary stage.

    I have already transferred a Rum Runner Stout from primary into secondary. The system did an excellent job of separating sediment from liquid. The extra space was nice as this batch got a lot of foam in the first 24 hours but didn't reach the top to cause any problems.

    I am getting ready to bottle the stout.o_O
     
    blue-dream likes this.
  34. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    I would guess the reason end up with Mr. Beer is that someone bought it in a department store, where the turnover may be low. It seems quite possible that many first time users are using ingredients that are not fresh or may not have been well cared for. The things that has made Mr. Beer successful (availability in Dept stores; simplicity of use) ends up giving it a bad reputation among beer lovers.

    If you use their on-line store, you can probably get fresher ingredients. PeterG's post above touches on the availability extracts and yeast at MrBeer's store. I wonder if you can get hops there? Of course, you can buy small batch brewing equipment from other online stores, and these stores will also sell ingredient kits for brewers of all levels, including those who want cans of hopped extract, and ingredients for brewers whose interests in the hobby expand to more complicated methods.

    One thing that confuses me about PeterGs post is his comment about LHBS selling generic extract from a 55 gallon drum. If by generic, he means unhopped, than yes. Of course, the extract was prepared by a professional maltster, e.g., Briess, and is of comparable quality to what Coopers makes. It is also possible that he means that many LHBS sell mostly pale unhopped extract to make it easy for homebrewers to personalize recipes with steeping grains and hops. This is approach is slightly less simple than Mr Beer, but the vast majority of homebrewers seem to prefer it to a just-add-water approach of the Cooper cans.
     
  35. The first beer I ever brewed was with Mr. Beer. A really great friend of mine showed me how. I forget which recipe we used, but I remember adding a few things like fresh ginger orange zest and maybe a few other things. It was a holiday spice beer. It came out awesome! We put it in those cool 32 oz swing top bottles you can get at the LHBS, and gave them to people for Christmas presents. It was one of the best homebrews Ive ever had, and Ive got quite a few extract and all grain brews under my belt!. Mr. Beer, while I really think its more of a novelty item more than anything else, is an awesome product and it helped me jump right into making 5 gallon batches. Yes, I think that for the low cost of it, once you taste your first home made beer, youll want to go ahead and buy the equipment necessary to do 5 gal extract or all grain brews. Welcome to the awesome world of home brewing! Cheers! :)
     
  36. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (800) Texas May 21, 2010

    A buddy bought a mr beer and made several good batches, straight from their directions and ingredients. Seemed cool so I tried it (this was a while after he had moved from there to CA). Well, I believe at this time the local water suppliers switched from chlorine to chloramine. My first couple batches worked, but tasted like band-aids.

    After that I started using bottled water* and just said fuck it and moved to five gallon batches (got a little instruction from a master brewer too). More importantly, I had picked up a copy of how to brew by then, and read it. This is the main problem with mr beer, the paltry instructions. The kits can make very fine beers, but fundamentals can't be ignored just because mr beer didn't supply instructions that explain what the fundamentals are. Honestly I could probably write up a great mr beer instruction book that would be pretty short and concise (for people who buy mr beer in JC Penney's), but would cover the critical stuff you really need to know about the fundamentals of brewing too, all within the attention span of a non-serious brewer. I'll happily and enthusiastically write such a document. There's just a matter of a small fee that we need to settle first. :cool:

    Virtually all you need to be successful at mr beer (and brewing in general) can be found on this forum too, but you have to put forth a little effort. The osmosis method of learning about brewing isn't too reliable, and we haven't quite figured out how to plug into the matrix yet. :rolleyes:

    *yes, I've since discovered campden tablets, and the water where I moved to is very good for brewing. But according to an engineering professor at school, most municipalities use at least some chloramine for at least part of the year, so I use 1/2 a campden tablet every time now. no probs with that since
     
  37. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (395) Virginia Nov 10, 2010

    Two things...
    1) This thread is ranked 33rd out of 6,688 with 9,873 views at post time.

    2) MrB has long been a novelty gift item marketed as a "feeling good about spending this amount of money" for the beer drinker in the family.

    The company really missed the boat as home beering has taken off in recent years.
    It's been only recently did MrB changed its malt supplier (now Coopers) and stepped up the quality of its (still) overpriced product line.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
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  38. jeffjeff1

    jeffjeff1 Savant (400) California Jun 6, 2009

    I really don't like the mr beer kits. I think they are a cheap gimmick. If you really want to get into brewing, check out a homebrew store and they can help you out. morebeer.com has great starter kits.
     
  39. My girlfriend bought me one of these for christmas. Forgot i threw it in the closet, opening for the first time right now and it comes with Brown plastic pop bottles that have the shape of a mini 40oz. reading the instructions. and you add 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar to each bottle. that doesnt sound good at all (though it came with some sugar carb drops that i use instead of reg sugar). i guess a plus is that the yeast and extract is fairly new. will probably use it to make her happy but ill give all the beer to my dad in hopes he doesnt hate me afterwords.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  40. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (395) Virginia Nov 10, 2010

    How does one know whether they really want to get into brewing?

    Apparently, it's more better to spends hundreds of dollars on equipment and ingredients and invest the time to brew 5G batches only to discover you really didn't want 5-fookin-Gs of the same swill nor did you have the time or interest to build a 5G pipeline but hey...there's always Craigslist if things don't work out...right?
     
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